America at last - Postscript
By Parson Thru
It takes time to work out if a thing has really changed your life. Two years on, I would say the journey down America has, but it takes other events to key that change in. Texan Red Dirt music, Robert Earl Keen and Ryan Bingham have changed my listening and playing habits. But a chance meeting on my return to work was really the catalyst. When I walked back into the office on my first day, I saw a new face. I walked straight up and said Hi! His name was Danny. Over the next few days, we became chatty and it turned out that he had spent months in the American Mid-West on a student exchange. He turned me on to American writers such as Jack Kerouac, Raymond Carver and the poetry of Allen Ginsberg.
Almost accidentally, as we were sitting in the glass-house sun of our office eating lunch, we worked out that we both wrote – my scribbles as yet unread. Danny introduced me to the ABC Tales writers’ site and Bristol Acoustic Night open mic, where I had the temerity to turn up and read a couple of my poems. Danny didn’t hang around in Bristol – a trait for which I have the utmost respect – moving on to teach overseas. But he lit the flame that our trip to America had fuelled. He helped give me the means to articulate those open horizons I found across the Atlantic and showed me where to find them in the literature. For all of this I am very grateful, though with some things it’s harder to give a voice to that gratitude.
Natasha has launched herself into something far more satisfying than a three week Greyhound trip, but that’s her story.
And my dad? Well, as with my brother, I still miss him terribly. Going to the States so soon after his death was the right thing to do, though. My dad lived his life and he did it his way. He flew the nest at the age of seventeen, landing in Europe, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan many years before I was born. He never returned to the nest. You get one life – it would be a crime not to live it. Have a nice day.